Centuries-old paintbrush art selling for eye-watering price tags? Another Picasso or Rembrandt to be hung on the wall of yet another chalet in the Swiss mountains? Auction houses feeding the ultra-rich with eclectic and ancient artifacts? That's so 2020.
History is being rewritten in the tightly guarded world of art, dealing with digital artists like Beeple and Mad Dog Jones now dethroning traditional 'must-buy' options to top the creme de la creme of hottest creators in the world. But hold on a second, Mad Dog…. who? Granted, the name might not ring any bells as digital artists have only recently started getting widespread recognition.
Still, there's no denying the race for digital collectibles is now hotter than ever - and sellers might want to thank NFTs for it. Since stepping out of the fringes of the internet, Non-Fungible Tokens (or NFTs) have taken the worlds of art, music, sports, and even consumer products for a spin and opened up a new realm of opportunities. But what exactly are the new kids on the block (pun intended)?
What are NFTs - AND WHY DIGITAL ART IS SUDDENLY SELLING LIKE HOTCAKES?
Simply put, NFTs are certificates of authenticity – but as opposed to a traditional piece of paper that you would expect to get after purchase, they come in the form of a unique encryption code that cannot be hacked or tampered with as it's powered through blockchain technology.
As digital buyers and sellers can be clearly identified and all transactions securely tracked, fraud is virtually impossible. Owners can also boast about having 'digital rights', which no doubt would appeal to many of the super-rich collectors looking to brag about their hot purchases. And so, with copy-paste culture hitting a dead-end in the world of digital art, there's no limit to how high can NFT artists rise - and just how expensive their talents can be priced at.
TOP 10 NFT ARTISTS TO FOLLOW
Also known as Mike Winklemann, Beeple is now the third most valuable living artist after selling an NFT collage for a record-smashing $69 million. The historical sale brokered through Christie's in a first of the kind of the famed auctioneer whipped up a frenzy of interest for NFTs and the broader sphere of cryptocurrencies.
The Charleston native had previously set a NFT art world record after selling $582,000 worth of cryptocurrency art in five minutes. Beeple's 1.7 strong social media following results from him sharing animations and illustrations every single day over the last 13 years. You may even be familiar with some of his creations. The digital artist has developed concert visuals and Flying Lotus videos for renowned rap performers Eminem and Nicki Minaj.
A self-proclaimed "3D artist with surreal futuristic aesthetics," Blake Kathryn brings a new twist to crypto art with multidimensional creations spanning across a wide array of themes and industries, including a recent collaboration with Paris Hilton to help support crypto artists and raise the profile of lesser-known creators.
Kathryn's innovative creations have led to high-profile collaborations with Jimmy Choo, Fendi, and even Smirnoff, the vodka brand. Thanks to NFTs, Kathryn is currently one of the leading digital artists in illustration, iconography, and branding.
Giant Swan is a virtual reality painter and sculptor focused on integrating 3D sculpting to create digital worlds through repeated layering and depth experimentation. He also doubles as Art and Experience Director for serial projects and has recently exhibited his works in Miami, Shanghai, and Melbourne.
While the themes of Swan artwork may vary, Giant Swan has also become known for his unique use of imagery, video, and print media to create NFT art, earning him a top spot amongst the artists at the forefront of the crypto art revolution.
Hashmasks is an Ethereum-based virtual art gallery boasting artworks from many different NFT artists, including 70 European creators. How the platform works is quite impressive. Better yet, the platform currently boasts a collection of 16,384 unique digital portraits.
Leading the pack of rising NFT artists is an American teenager selling her multi-million digital artwork under the pseudonym FEWoCIOUS. She reportedly turned to NFT art to cope with the isolation she felt after moving to a new school and experiencing a difficult time at home.
FEWoCIOUS's art is known for its trademark dream-like undertones, in a mix of past memories, caricatures of everyday events, and a look into the imaginary world of a regular high school student. FEWoCIOUS hereof has admitted to initially being skeptical of selling her art in the form of NFTs. It was not until fetching $25,000 for an artwork titled 'Moment I Fell in Love' that she decided to jump on the crypto frenzy bandwagon.
There's no guide to the world's too NFT artists without mentioning Jose Delbo. Even if you're not an ardent fan of DC Marvel comics, you might still appreciate his contribution in helping draw the first Wonder Woman comic books back in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as lending a helping hand on the Transformers and Superman/Batman series.
Nowadays, the 87-year-old is making his millions selling Wonder Woman-themed NFTs to collectors hoping that digital Marvel-inspired art will soon replace the lucrative value of the old-school paper collectibles.
Trevor Jones is not only an excellent marketer but is also a fascinating creator, whose creations are assorted and cover a broad range of arts. Originally from Canada, Trevor worked as the Director of Art in Healthcare, where his role was to provide art workshops for individuals with disabilities.
Trevor is also primarily renowned for his contribution to the state of the art tech inventions like Augmented reality. He uses animation, video production, and NFC tags, and some of his most famous creations include the interpretation of Pablo Picasso's style in his digital work. He has taken the palette and composition of some of Pablo's key portraits and recreated them with cryptocurrency symbols and other relevant iconography and contemporary logos.
Hackatao is the name adopted by the artistic Italian art duo composed by Nadia Squarci and Sergio Scalet – both of whom are considered pioneers in NFT art in their native country. Dwelling in major societal issues including the environment and economy, the pair blends references to history, symbolism, and psychology to create innovative pieces of ultra-contemporary NFT art.
Hackatao - a mix of hacker and tao in reference to living balances -, come from a traditional background in the 'physical art world', but fuelled by the desire to shatter established norms; the duo decided to connect with NFT artists and learn a new craft to birth truly futuristic creations.
JOHN ORIAN YOUNG (JOY)
John Orian Young is a 3D artist who sells animated characters and figurines as non fungible tokens. With his pieces doubling in value immediately after being sold and re-listed, there's no doubt that this digital artist is on track to make a name for himself in the NFT world.
MAD DOG JONES
If you are a fan of portraits depicting post-apocalyptic cityscapes, then you might already be a follower of Mad Dog Jones on his Instagram. The artist has specialized in digital compositions portraying visionary dream worlds and cyberpunk themes.
Also known as Michah Dowbak, Mad Dog Jones was behind one of the most successful auctions through the digital marketplace Nifty Gateway, with his Crash + Burn series selling for $4.3 million. Check out his website to buy some of his best work.
Another artist ruling the crypto art realm is the elusive artist Pak. Unlike the other artists listed so far, Pak has never divulged his real identity, leading NFT art enthusiasts to nickname him (or her) as the "Satoshi of Crypto Art."
Pak is immensely popular on Twitter and Instagram, where he can brag of having not only millions of followers but some high-profile names at that, including none other than Elon Musk. If that doesn't prove that Pak deserves some serious attention, then not much does. His open collections are available at the website linked above.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Greg Mike was first exposed to the creative potential of recreating public spaces through design and art by childhood trips to New York City back in the mid-80s. Further inspired by his involvement with the skate culture, he has also become known for pieces incorporating vivid explosions of incandescent shades filtered through Surrealist Pop Art perspectives.
The next NFT artist to watch is a creative who's managed to catch the attention of some major cinema and production studios through his fan art media and comic art-inspired creations. Some of Bosslogic's earlier series were so successful that he's frequently commissioned by Marvel and DC Comics to collaborate. In fact, you may have already come across some of the artist's work as seen in 'The Mandalorian', the hugely popular live-action series in the Star Worlds franchisee. Bosslogic's work easily go for $35,000 apiece, and with a growing collaboration with studies, it's only certain that the artist will only go up in value.
Last but not least, Slimesunday rounds up this list with an impressive list of digital artworks already sold and a reputation for pushing boundaries with erotic and self-described bizarre themes that have seen his pieces getting the attention of some heavy-weight buyers.
Slimesunday's digital collages are undoubtedly among the most impressive and progressive artworks featured in this list as the crypto art world is taking a growing interest in this Boston-based artist.
Whether you are a total beginner or NFT expert, let this guide serve as a testament to how one-of-a-kind NFTs can offer creative and new ways for artists to connect with their faithful fans and add value to their productions in the process.
There is an inherent feeling of community for both ardent collectors and artists, mainly due to the fact that the technology has been part of a niche subculture that's just beginning to enter the mainstream.